In the latest in a series of credit card industry settlements, American Express will pay $112.5 million to resolve allegations of abusive debt collection practices, late-fee charges and deceptive marketing, federal regulators announced Monday.
Customers, in some cases, were charged late fees based on a percentage of their debt in violation of federal law. Others were misled to believe that if they partially paid off their debts, the remaining balance would be forgiven.
In direct-mail offers, American Express promised customers $300 and bonus points when they signed up for its Blue Sky credit card program. Yet customers never received the advertised money. All of the alleged activity occurred between 2003 and the spring of 2012, regulators said in the enforcement order against American Express.
The credit card company is refunding $85 million to about 250,000 customers, while paying a total of $27.5 million in civil fines to four federal agencies, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.